A few days after Ronald Green’s death in 2019, when a video camera recorded white soldiers stunning, beating and dragging a black motorist, the Louisiana state police chief wrote in his magazine a stern remark about the case: “Understand that there is a problem – it must be resolved immediately. “
But it was more than a year – 462 days, to be exact – before Colonel Kevin Reeves launched an internal investigation into the actions of the soldiers involved, including the one who was recorded boasting that he had “beaten the eternally alive h …” Green.
Eleven pages of Reeves ’three magazines were published Thursday in response to a lawsuit from the Legislative Committee considering a possible cover-up for the case. And the chairman of the commission says the troubling issues raised in those few pages were enough to demand Reeves execute, flipping through all his magazines, with the threat of being accused of contempt if he did not.
“The documents themselves show that Colonel Reeves knew early on that there was a problem, and considered possible measures to address it, but ultimately did not,” said Republican Tenner Magi. “This committee was trying to figure out why.”
While manuscript pages are difficult to decipher in places, the note page, which dates back just 12 days after Green’s death, is a clear list of possible actions in response: dismissing employees or sending them on administrative leave, opening an internal investigation and conducting a video audit of the master military Chris Hollingsworth, who boasted of beating Green and had a story of disconnecting video from the body camera.
Reeves, who called Green’s death “horrible but legal” and resigned in late 2020 amid criticism, tried to downplay his own involvement.
His lawyer, Lewis Anglesby, said the delays in Green’s case “have nothing to do with Kevin Reeves”, saying his subordinates should find out what happened. “There’s a difference between ‘This is what I want you to do’ and ‘I’m going to do it.'”
Green’s death on May 10, 2019 was shrouded in mystery and accusations of concealment from the beginning, when authorities told grieving relatives and put in the first reports that the 49-year-old died in a car crash at the end of a high-speed chase near Monroe.
The Associated Press last year received a long hidden video from the body’s camera that showed what really happened: soldiers rushed into Green’s car, repeatedly stunned him, punched him in the head, handcuffed him and left him lying on the ground for more than nine minutes. Sometimes you could hear Green begging for mercy and crying, “I’m your brother! I’m scared! I’m afraid. “
Approaching the three-year anniversary of Green’s death, no charges have been filed in this case, despite a federal civil rights investigation, a separate state criminal investigation and a legislative investigation.
A bipartisan legislature was formed in February in response to an AP report that Reeves had informed Governor John Bell Edwards within hours that the military arresting Green was waging a “violent long struggle.” However, the Democrat was largely silent on the matter for two years as the state military continued to raise the theory of car accidents, which was later debunked by a new autopsy ordered by the FBI.
The governor said he did not talk about the actions of the military – even after privately watching videos from the arrest cell – due to a federal investigation. He then called the actions of the military criminal and racist.
For weeks, an eight-member legislature questioned state police and other officials in an attempt to reopen the case. Last week, a senior state police official told lawmakers he was being “ordered” that no serviceman had yet faced criminal charges. Another high-ranking official described Green’s death arrest as “complete disregard for the sanctity of human life.”
Lawmakers said they intend to investigate what Edwards knew and if he knew, but none of his staff have yet been summoned to testify.
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